The tennis world is a small one. Sportsmen and sportswomen tend to know of each other even if they’ve never met. In this rather niche circle, it is not rare for people to have crushes that develop into long-lasting relationships.
Well, the legend who set an all-time record of winning 20 Grand Slam singles titles, Roger Federer’s story is no different. While he competed to win the first place as a tennis player, he went on to win first place in the heart of the woman he loved.
Miroslava Vavrinec, aka Mirka, and he have been together for almost 20 years now, and their beautiful love story is one that will even make a cynic believe in love. They met for the first time in 1997 at Biel, Switzerland for a tournament. This was shortly after the “House of Tennis” opened there.
“We were both playing for Switzerland in tennis,” recalled Federer to CNN, “and then we spent two weeks together in those dorms. We were together with the wrestlers and all the other cool athletes. I guess over the two weeks, we built up some chemistry.”
They met again in 2000 at the Sydney Olympics and knew they had something special going on between them. They went on to share their first kiss at the Olympics; even though Mirka lost her matches, she won Federer’s heart. He was 18 and she 20.
It was one of the wrestlers who egged on the world champion to make the first move. “He said, ‘Hey, kiss her now.’ And I’m like, ‘No, I don’t know, maybe, should I?'” The wrestler didn’t give up. “So, anyway, I did,” continued Federer.
Mirka was not really impressed though with the young guy’s move. “She told me I was so young when she kissed me. I tried to tell her I was almost 18-and-a-half. I tried to sneak in a quarter year,” he added cheekily.
The couple grew closer by the day and there was no looking back. Mirka, who rose to a career-high ranking of 76 in 2001, had to retire in 2002 due to a persistent foot injury that she couldn’t recover from, according to the Express UK. Since then, the couple have celebrated many milestones together. They got married in an intimate event with only their friends and family around at Wenkenhof Villa in Basel, Federer’s hometown, in April 2009, according to the Sun UK.
They had announced a month before getting married that they were expecting their first child. The first time Mirka was pregnant, she gave birth to identical twin girls named Myla Rose and Charlene Riva the same year they got married. He had 15 grand slams by then but he called the birth of his children the greatest day of his life.
“This is the greatest day of our lives,” the Grand Slam champ and the then-No. 1 player in the world said in a statement, according to People. “Mirka, Myla and Charlene are all healthy and doing very well.”
The couple went on to have another set of twins—adorable boys Leo and Lennard—in 2014.
Mirka wanted to have more involvement in his life and became Federer’s very efficient public-relations manager. She is usually in the crowd cheering for her husband. However, she has had to take a break due to pregnancy or to take care of their children. Federer, who had to spend a lot of time away from his home, often insists that his family travels with him to get more time together.
The rather soft-spoken sports star revealed an intimate secret that proves how the duo is still very much in love and passionate about each other even after being married for 11 years and having been together for nearly two decades. The star never goes to sleep without his wife Mirka beside him in the bed.
“I refuse to leave the bed with my wife. We always wanted to have kids, but my dream was to be with [her] and not in another bedroom on another floor. I’d rather sleep with kids screaming than away from my wife,” quoted Express.
Soon after the birth of his sons, the sports star credited his wife for his family being able to travel the world with him. “My wife does a lot of work, as much as she can. And I try to help as much as I can. We have the grandparents as well and all my team members, they sometimes just tag along. Clearly we also need some help on the road, so Mirka can have an opportunity sometimes to sleep in a little bit, or come to watch one of my matches. You need to be well organized, but by now we know how it works,” he said, as per the Sun UK.
She is every bit the devoted wife to him as he is an adoring husband. Their relationship is proof that when couples rely on each other and make an effort to make things work, everything is possible.